I don't like to watch the news. I don't subscribe to the newspaper. I rarely check even national news online. I realize that this leaves me woefully uninformed about current events, politics, and the like, but I prefer to label my deficit as blissfully ignorant. I just can't stand hearing about all the pain and suffering in the world.
When the 10 o'clock news tells me about the stabbing at 7-Eleven, the home invasion on Third & Main, the crop failure in California, or the earthquake in Taiwan, I go to bed dreaming about the victims and their loved ones. This either makes me overly compassionate or obsessive/compulsive (I can't decide which), but it is real enough to me that I try to insulate myself from the nightly news.
The problem is much worse when I know the people involved.
A couple of days ago, I heard that some people I know were involved in a plane crash (reported by azcentral.com here). The man who survived grew up across the street from me in Mesa, and we're the same age. He and his wife have devastating burns and injuries. They also have four small children who, thank goodness, are unhurt.
I don't pretend to be on buddy-buddy terms with this guy, nor do I expect that anyone who knows him also knows me (besides my family) or will read this post. But his family's tragedy has touched me deeply. I can't stop thinking about him and his wife and their kids and the long, painful road of recovery that is ahead for all of them. Following their story has not only made my little heart bleed, though. It has made me profoundly grateful for my perfect little life.
How grateful I am for my health, for my body that breathes and moves and works the way I want it to.
How grateful I am for my family. For parents who taught me good and true principles, who gave me opportunities and freedoms, and who were (and are) an example of a loving marital relationship. For in-laws who did the same for my husband and who love my children now. For siblings who teach me more now than ever before. For the fun and adventures of a large family. For a husband who is a righteous, worthy patriarch, who loves me and his sons, who sacrifices time, money, and energy to serve us, who works hard to provide a good living so I can stay home. For children who teach me how to be a good human being, who help me grow, and who help me see a glimpse of Heavenly Father's plan.
How grateful I am for technology that simplifies (and sometimes complicates) but always improves my life. For computers and the internet and cell phones and vacuums and washing machines and ceiling fans.
How grateful I am for the freedoms I enjoy in this country. For the right to worship as I choose. For the right to be educated, to vote, to have my voice heard.
How grateful I am for my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To know that God lives, that He knows who I am, that He speaks through a living prophet in this day and age, and that His gospel is alive and restored on the earth today. To know that through sacred temple ordinances I can be with my family in this life and throughout eternity.
How grateful I am for friends near and far. (Of course I can't post pictures of you all!!) For grade school friends that keep in touch. For those I made in junior high and high school, my crazy college years, and after I married. For the friends who nurtured me through the beginnings of motherhood. Especially for the ones who haven't forgotten me in my move. For the friends I am making now and the friendships I will form and cherish in the future.
How grateful I am for clothing to wear, food to eat, furniture to sit on, and a roof overhead. For functional cars in the driveway and money to buy gas. For a piano that brings immeasurable joy. For hot water. For beautiful flowers in my garden.
These are but a few of my choicest blessings. How grateful I am for the opportunity to remember them.